What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical Therapists most often require 3 years of doctoral education, following a 4 year degree in health-related science. They spend time learning biology, anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, behavioral sciences, communication, ethics and values, clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice and the various bodily systems.
They believe that many health conditions will benefit from enabling your body to move better, improving upon balance, strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. Physical Therapists focus their treatments around physical movement, and utilize various therapeutic modalities such as electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, ice, heat, laser treatment and taping or bracing to support painful joints and lower backs.
What do Physical Therapists do?
Physical Therapists begin working with you by providing a detailed examination, measuring range of motion, strength, nerve health, balance and coordination, and posture. They even look at how you walk, run, stand from sitting and sit from standing to understand how your body function may be impaired. These tests help to come up with a customized treatment plan.
Some patients receive hands-on care, such as joint mobilization, which is rhythmic movement of a joint to help with pain and mobility, or massage-like techniques to reduce muscle tension, enhance joint motion and improve upon posture. A more advanced therapy called Graston Technique, may be used for stubborn tightness or scar tissue after an injury or surgery. Graston Technique involves gliding smooth stainless steel instruments over chronic problems to stimulate healing, restore elasticity and reduce pain.
How does Physical Therapy work?
We can summarize how Physical Therapy works by looking at the stages in which we heal and maintain our health:
1. Relief- Initiate healing, decrease pain and spasm, improve mobility, reduce inflammation, and return to normal activities of daily living.
2. Repair- Enhance healing and function, increase range of motion, muscular control and coordination. Improve upon joint tightness and restriction.
3. Restore- Maximize function, return range of motion to pre-episodic status, increase strength, maximize joint function, decrease treatment frequency, return to full work, recreational and at-home activity.
4. Sustain- Graduate with new or adapted exercise routine, improved postural and nutritional habits and modified activities of daily living/ergonomics. Stabilize so the condition does not return.
Is it safe?
Physical Therapy is considered a very safe branch of our health care system, especially since it does not involve drugs or surgery. All our Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants are Pennsylvania-licensed and State Board Certified.
What conditions does Physical Therapy help?
- Sprain and strain injuries
- Post surgical rehabilitation
- Peripheral neuropathy
- sciatica and pinched nerves
- back and neck pain
- tennis elbow
- sports performance
- meniscus and labral tears
- rotator cuff strain
- hip pain
If you are interested in finding out more about physical therapy and whether it could improve your health and mobility, request an appointment with Aligned Medical Group at (610) 644-3166.